How Dropouts and Expelled Students Can Receive a High School Diploma
Students should stay in school until the moment they walk across the stage and accept a high school diploma from an education official. For decades, parents and children have agreed on this basic fact.
Staying in school is one of the smartest things any student can do in order to ensure long-term financial and emotional success.
But many students are forced to leave school before they’ve had a chance to make that victorious walk across the stage. In 2006 alone, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 100,000 students were expelled, and thousands more left voluntarily on a dropout basis.
For students forced to abandon an education, the future can look dim. It’s hard to get ahead in life without the proper educational background.
But there are a number of viable options that can help students to get the high school diplomas they need in order to achieve their full potential.
Understanding the Cause
In order to pull together a plan of action, it’s vital to understand just why the student is no longer an active participant in the high school education process. For some, that loss of an education comes due to an expulsion.
School district officials can expel a student for infractions that impede the safety or the learning of other students. That means students can get expelled for serious offenses involving weapons and drugs, but they can also be expelled for minor infractions involving fighting or insubordination.
An expulsion is serious, and it’s not something school districts take lightly. There’s a great deal of paperwork, counseling, meetings, and court appearances involved in an expulsion process, so the issue shouldn’t be a surprise to parents. When it comes, there’s a lot of warning involved.
But some students face a great deal of difficulties at school that remain hidden, and those issues can push a student to make catastrophic choices. For example, the organization Dignity in Schools reports that students suspended due to behavior are more likely to drop out of school altogether, and suspensions can be tied to behavior that’s misinterpreted. A student who curses could be suspended, and if that suspension happens often enough, that student could just quit school.
Similarly, older students dealing with difficult life events might think it’s wise to stop focusing on school, so they can pull the rest of their lives together. These teens may have a history of:
These students may have low grades due to life stress, and to them, dropping out seems wise.
A family’s options are deeply dependent on what forced the child out of the school environment in the first place. Families of expelled students have unique struggles that may make reentry into a traditional school a little challenging.
If the child is between the ages of 16 and 18, and the expulsion doesn’t involve weapons or drugs, the school district is required to provide some sort of alternate education for an expelled student, per legal experts. Typically, parents find out about these alternate plans in an expulsion hearing, and they may be able to appeal those plans until they seem appropriate for the needs of the child.
If the child was expelled due to violence or drugs, or the child is older, the family may need to get creative in order to stay within the school system. In Wisconsin, for example, no public school is required to accept a child who has been expelled from another public school. And few schools might bend the rules for students who seem dangerous. Families like this might need to send a child to private school, for a fee, in order to keep the child’s education on track.
Private school might also be an option for students who have dropped out of the school system. Typically, these students are required to take aptitude tests, so administrators understand how much they know and how much they need to learn, and private schools can accommodate the individualized lessons a student might need to pick up after a long absence. Public schools may not be equipped to provide this support, so private schools may be a good option.
Some private schools are held virtually, too, meaning that students can link up with the classroom via computer instead of commuting to the class. For families who live far from educational hubs, this can be a good choice.
Older students expelled near the end of their educational careers may opt to simply prepare for and take the GED exam. It’s not the same as a high school diploma, but a passing score helps a student to prove that he/she understands the basic concepts that make up a high school degree.
The mean age of a person passing the GED is about 25, per the GED Testing Service, which seems to suggest that this is a popular option among older and non-traditional students. But there are students as young as 16 who have passed this test, and there are instructors who develop entire classes designed to help students pass this test. For those who can’t go back into a classroom, either public or private, it could be a good alternative.
It’s important to remember that a GED alone can’t help a child to really succeed in life. According to the United States Census, those who earn a high school diploma earn more than $1,000 more per month, when compared to those who get a GED. If students can’t get back into a school and they need to earn a GED, they should build on that education by enrolling in some type of postsecondary education, such as a community college or a vocational school. It’s here that they’ll pick up the work-related skills that translate into higher-paying jobs.
Don’t Give Up
A good education is the right of every person who lives in the United States, and a troubled youth doesn’t negate that right. Even students who have made poor choices deserve the opportunity to learn about the world around them, so they can grow and become productive members of society as a whole.
At Next Generation Village, the staff can help. As part of the comprehensive help provided for teens with addictions, our Education Specialists can provide educational assistance when it comes to your teen’s coursework.
Call the number at the top of the page to find out how this component of care could help your teen to grow.